Flaxseed is one of the most versatile super-foods. You can sprinkle them on cereal, yogurt, and salad or add them to your baked goods. It’s an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid which the body converts to essential omega-3 fatty acid.
It helps control inflammation, blood pressure and also protects against certain cancers. But, even your favorite super food has certain side effects and certain people afflicted with certain illness cannot consume it. Here’s a list of flaxseed side effects, so you can be better aware while choosing your super foods. Raw or unripe flaxseed is possibly unsafe and may cause toxicity.
The Side Effects of Flaxseeds
The U.S National Institutes of Health (NIH) has suggested that flaxseeds may have laxative properties. The NIH recommends that people with diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, should not consume flaxseeds
Digestive Tract Obstruction
Flaxseeds may cause obstruction of the esophagus, intestines or bowel if taken in large doses or without enough liquid. Anyone with narrowing of the esophagus, intestine or bowel, or who already has an obstruction in these areas, should not consume flaxseeds. Additionally, scleroderma patients should consult a doctor before using flaxseed, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Some scleroderma patients have developed severe constipation and bowel obstruction after beginning fiber supplementation.
Allergic reactions to flaxseeds are very uncommon. But some severe reactions have been reported which included abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Life-threatening anaphylaxis (a sudden drop in blood pressure and difficulty breathing).
Effects of a flaxseed overdose have been researched in animal studies, according to the NIH. Signs may include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, weakness and trouble walking. Flaxseed overdose also may cause seizures or paralysis.
High Triglyceride Levels (hypertriglyceridemia)
Partially defatted flaxseed (flaxseed with less alpha-linolenic acid content) might increase triglyceride levels.
Hormone-Sensitive Cancers or Conditions
Flaxseed might act somewhat like the hormone estrogen, there is some concern that flaxseed might make hormone-sensitive conditions worse. Women taking flaxseed daily may experience changes in menstruation. The NIH advises that women with hormone-related health conditions be cautious when using flaxseed. People with these conditions include endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, uterine fibroids, and breast, ovarian or uterine cancer should also be careful. However, some early laboratory and animal research suggests that flaxseed might actually oppose estrogen and might be protective against hormone-dependent cancer.
Pregnant women also should not consume supplemental flaxseed, as it could stimulate menstruation or cause other hormonal effects that might be harmful to the developing baby.
Omega-3 fatty acids can increase blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes should be cautious about consuming flaxseed, according to the NIH.
People With Low Blood Pressure (hypotension)
Flaxseeds might lower diastolic blood pressure. Theoretically, taking flaxseeds might cause blood pressure to become too low in individuals with low blood pressure.
People With High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
Since flaxseeds might lower diastolic blood pressure, individuals who have high blood pressure take flaxseeds along with their blood-pressure-lowering medication might be at risk.
People With Bleeding Disorders
Flax seed also may elevate the risk of excessive bleeding because it decreases clotting. People with bleeding disorders or taking medications or supplements with blood-thinning effects may need to be cautious about using flax seed supplements. If consuming enough flax seed on a regular basis, these patients may need a change in medication dosage.
Bipolar Disorder Patients
Flaxseed may cause mania in people with bipolar disorder.